We thought it might be helpful to give some answers to the most commonly asked questions about endothermal ablation treatment for varicose veins.
Will the treatment get rid of all my visible varicose veins?
Following endothermal ablation most varicose veins become less visible immediately with around 70% of patients noticing a major improvement in appearance, depending on the pattern of their varicose veins.
What if I am unhappy with the appearance of my legs caused by my varicose veins?
If you are more concerned about the appearance of your veins than the discomfort they are causing, Value Healthcare recommend that you seek your treatment at a private hospital, where additional procedures are often undertaken to reduce the likelihood of visible veins remaining, and this is reflected in the treatment costs at a private hospital.
I have had treatment to my veins in the past, can I still be treated by Value Healthcare?
Provided that you have not had your vein stripped, we should still be able to carry out endothermal ablation. If the vein has been stripped you are likely to require additional procedures, that are only available in a private hospital setting, to complete your treatment. If your vein has been stripped you will need to seek treatment in a private hospital.
I have had treatment but don’t know if the vein was stripped out?
If you are not sure if the vein has been stripped, it is still worth having a consultation and a scan. Many patients who think they have had their veins stripped, have not had the vein removed, only disconnected. In these circumstances endothermal ablation and/or foam sclerotherapy is often still effective.
I have had treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the past. Can my varicose veins still be treated?
It is often possible to treat varicose veins that have developed after a DVT, but Value Healthcare is not currently able to offer treatment in these circumstances and we recommend discussing your condition with your GP, as you may be eligible for NHS treatment. If you are not your GP can refer you to your local private hospital if you wish.
I have private medical insurance, can I be treated by Valuehealthcare?
Value Healthcare is only able to treat patients who are paying for their own treatment. In order to have treatment funded by an insurer you must have your treatment at a private hospital approved by the insurer.
Why are you able to offer treatment at lower prices than a private hospital?
Value Healthcare is a fully integrated organisation, experienced in providing patient treatments on behalf of the NHS since 2015.
Our technologies for treatment are NICE guideline, Line-1 recommendation, offering proven outcomes aimed at relief of symptoms (endothermal ablation).
Our experience in logistics & process optimisation, and the utilisation of technology enables our experienced surgeons to undertake varicose vein treatments in community treatment facilities at much lower costs than would be the case in a private hospital.
What will happen during the endothermal ablation procedure?
An ultrasound scan on your leg enables the surgeon to mark the position of the veins. Your leg is then cleaned, sterilised and covered with a surgical drape. The area where the catheter will enter is numbed with a local anaesthetic and a very small skin incision made at the site.
Using ultrasound guidance, a catheter is inserted through the skin and positioned within the abnormal vein. A laser fibre or radiofrequency electrode is inserted through the catheter. Local anaesthetic is then injected around the abnormal vein with ultrasound guidance. Laser or radiofrequency energy is applied to the vein as the catheter is slowly withdrawn. The leg is then covered with a bandage and a stocking applied over the bandage. No stiches are needed.
How long will the procedure take?
This procedure is usually completed within an hour.
Will the veins feel better straight afterwards?
Most people notice improvement in their legs straight away, although sometimes there can be aching and discomfort in the treated leg for 1-2 weeks after treatment. This is part of the normal healing process and is rarely severe enough to interfere with normal activities, which can be resumed within 24 hours of treatment.
How long before I can drive?
You can drive the following day.
Will the veins come back/start hurting again?
From our collaborative work with NHS units in London and Cornwall, we believe that the treatment is around 95-98% effective, but there is a 2-3% chance that your vein will not be closed after treatment. In these circumstances if re-treatment is required further charges will apply.
With certain patterns of veins, the varicose veins remain visible for many months, although symptoms are usually improved. The clinician who assesses your veins will indicate to you if this is likely to be the case in your circumstance and you may elect to have foam sclerotherapy undertaken at an additional charge, at a later date. As a general rule, based on our experience using these techniques in over 2,000 patients, with most patterns of veins only 10% of patients after endothermal ablation will be left with veins that are bad enough to require any further treatment.
Will I need a follow up?
Follow ups are not normally necessary and are therefore not included within the standard price. If however you feel you need a follow up these are available for an additional fee of £75.
What can go wrong?
As with any operation, there are risks and it is important to be aware of these before deciding to proceed. The risks will be explained to you by your surgeon before your treatment but a summary of the main risks for each of the treatments offered is outlined below, although all of these complications are extremely rare:
Endothermal ablation risks
- Damage to the blood vessel, resulting in bruising or bleeding
- Thermal damage to nerves leading to some skin numbness that is usually temporary
- Inflammation of the vein which can cause tenderness, and some skin discoloration that fades in a few months
- Blood clots (DVT) can rarely occur, and patients thought to be at increased risk will receive an injection to thin the blood at the time of their treatment